Only a weekend in Spain - what could possibly go wrong?
At their family hilltop villa, Lucy awaits the arrival of her brother and sister for their mother's annual birthday party. Although this time, their mother won't be there.Struggling at Malaga airport with her fractious four year old, Jo has already lost her case and is dreading arriving without its precious contents.For Tom, returning to Casa de Sueños stirs up all sorts of memories - then a beautiful face from his past appears . . . Over one long, hot weekend, past secrets will spill out as three siblings discover more about their family and each other in this gorgeous, warm and witty new novel from Fanny Blake.
Today I'm delighted to host Fanny Blake author of 'The House of Dream's to talk about five novels on Mothers and Children;
5 Novels on Mothers and Children
There are many novels about mothers and children of course, but these are five that have particularly stayed with me …
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
We all remember Jo, Beth and Amy March but at the heart of the novel of course is Marmee or Mrs March, their mother, raising the girls alone while their father serves as a chaplain during the US Civil War. Isn’t she just the perfect mother? Loving, hardworking, principled and always with time for her children. But … At the same time, she inspires her daughters to strive to do great things. And isn’t that what mothers should do, whether or not their houses are spotless and their husband’s shirts ironed?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Is there a more tiresome mother than Mrs Bennet? Having given up on having a son, she has no higher aspiration in life that to find suitable husbands for her five daughters. Her single-minded desire backfires over and over again to disastrous or comedic effect. But despite her ‘mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper’, she is determined her girls should have a secure future and stands up for them when things go wrong.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Orleanna Price and her four daughters are uprooted from their home in Georgia US to go on a mission to the Belgian Congo led by her husband, Baptist minister Nathan Price. Set against the Congo’s struggle for independence, the story is the unraveling of the Price family as they face insuperable and sometimes tragic odds. Seen through the eyes of Orleanna and her daughters, this is an extraordinary epic tour-de-force that is one of my all-time favourite reads.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Who can forget Eva Katchadourian and her troubled relationship with her son Kevin? We meet a woman looking back at her struggle to cope with motherhood by writing a series of letters to her husband. When the novel opens, Kevin is in prison and Eva’s neighbours are hostile but the exact nature of her son’s horrific crime is kept from the reader. Eva tortures herself wondering how much she was to blame for events and how much was due to Kevin’s innate conditioning. Nature of nurture? I was shocked, moved and couldn’t stop reading.
The Millstone by Margaret Drabble
Set in sixties London, this is the story of Rosamund, a graduate writing her PhD thesis and living in her absent parents’ flat. Sexually naïve, she discovers she’s pregnant after a one-night stand but shockingly decides to have the baby and bring it up on her own. A decision not taken easily in those days. At the heart of the novel is the love of Rosamund for her baby Octavia, soon diagnosed with a heart condition. Drabble brilliantly conveys how motherhood gives you a new ferocity. Now a feminist classic, it’s a tear-jerker that’s always stayed in my mind.
Fanny Blake’s House of Dreams is published by Orion in paperback, £7.99 and is out now